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Chocolate Skateboards and the Girl Distribution Company welcomed Jerry Hsu to the team on Tuesday. The move reunites him with his friend, mentor and former Maple Skateboards and Enjoi Skateboards teammate Marc Johnson. The news comes just one month after Hsu left Enjoi, following the departure of former brand manager Matt Eversole.
XGames.com tracked Hsu down while he was filming in Kansas City for the scoop on the move and what comes next.
XGames.com: That's quite a crew you're joining over at Chocolate. What does this opportunity mean for you personally?
Jerry Hsu: When I left Enjoi I had no idea what I was going to do. There was no plan: leaving was just something I had to do, and it was a little bit scary. There was about a month there where I tried not to think too hard about it, and then when I started to look at all the companies out there it was kind of hard to decide where I might fit in. At first there was no real right answer, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere that supported skating in a positive way and where I knew some people, at a company I admired. I didn't want to just go ride for some company, so I called my old friend Marc Johnson, talked to him about it, and crossed my fingers.
Riding for a company like Girl or Chocolate is a very special thing, and I was really prepared to be rejected. In my mind it was far from a sure thing, but I had to try because it's been kind of a dream. I've admired these companies since I was a kid. Basically Marc really pushed for it, and luckily made it happen.
The two of you have a lot of history together.
I really appreciate everything he's done for me. We first met when I was like 14 or 15, and it really matters who you meet at that time in your life, who influences you, who opens some doors for you, who pushes you through them when you need the push. He's been so important in my life and my career and has basically gotten me on every board company I've ever ridden for. I can't really thank him enough.
What do you get, as a skateboarder, out of surrounding yourself with a good team?
I think when you look at a team and they don't really vibe well together it hurts everyone. It was something I took really seriously when I tried to look at what this next step would be: you have to have people who can work together, push each other, and grow together. At Chocolate and Girl they've mastered that. They've picked the right people and it's like a big family. It's been a real testament to their success over the last 20 years, and when you look at a video like "Pretty Sweet" – or anything they do, really – you can't miss the fact that there's something special there.
Lately you've been making some big moves with your photography career, even getting some gallery shows and publishing some zines of your work.
Skating always comes first, but I've been really lucky to travel to some of the places I have and to have been able to bring my camera along. I was really flattered when I first talked to Rick Howard and Mike Carroll at Chocolate that they specifically said they appreciate that I have other interests. Mike told me, "it's not just your skating we're interested in: we appreciate your ideas." I knew, right then, that I was talking to the right people. But maybe we can keep this interview just to skating, if you don't mind?
Fair enough. What are you most looking forward to now that you're officially on the team?
There's a big Europe trip in the works and I'm looking forward to traveling with everybody, getting to know some of the guys on the team just being a part of it. I'm looking forward to getting going on all kinds of projects. Video parts, tours, all that.
Have you been filming much?
We're about to start filming for the next Emerica team project and I'll have a few tricks for that. So that's the next big project I have to dive into, and then I'll be throwing myself into filming for whatever's next from Chocolate. These days those projects can take a couple years to pull together, but kids don't like to hear that. Whatever is coming, I'm looking forward to it.